Peterson Elementary School on the Northwest Side of Chicago was in dire need of improvements to its recreational field. The grass play space continually flooded and was unusable after a heavy rain. Juli Ordower Landscape Architecture led the concept design phase with the Architect of Record to maximize play space while maintaining the majority of existing mature trees. Through close collaboration with the entire design team, including meetings with the school principal and committee members, the final design includes a 25,000 sq. ft. turf field with underdrainage surrounded by a running track and an expansive nature play area. The kids can now play ball in the rain and enjoy a dynamic play space with vertical tree features, a log and boulder field, a log walk, a stone feature wall and a custom bridge. Also included are entry plazas with a shade structure, benches, fencing, native plantings and new lighting.



"It was an absolute privilege to work with Juli Ordower.  She listened carefully to the feedback and input of the community in designing the Peterson Community Field, and she designed an extraordinary place for kids to play during the regular school year and the community to enjoy on a daily basis.  The field, the natural play space, and the plants all come together in an attractive, cohesive, and unique design that does an excellent job meeting the needs of kids and families." 

-Kate Kane, Former Principal, Peterson Elementary



The Chicago Housing Authority is committed to providing the residents of the Princeton Apartments a new playground and park. Juli Ordower Landscape Architecture spearheaded the concept design phase, presenting three distinct options for the new space. Concept A is a traditional, geometric design with a half-court basketball, central lawn area and separate areas for swings and a 2-12 year play structure. Concept B also has a half-court basketball but in a more organic, free flowing design with a combined area for the play equipment. Concept C eliminates the basketball court, instead opting for a senior fitness area and age distinct structures. The stakeholders unanimously voted for Concept B with the addition of senior fitness stations along the pathway. For longevity, the only plantings are trees and lawn and the site furnishings and lightpoles are very durable. This project is slated for construction in 2019.




Hired as a consultant to Briar Patch Landscaping, Juli Ordower Landscape Architecture is coordinating the landscape installation at Maggie Daley Park along Chicago’s downtown lakefront. Serving as Project Manager, Juli is making sure the shrub, perennial and sod installation at the park is following the plans and specifications of the Landscape Architect, Michael van Valkenburgh. Along with sourcing over 4,000 shrubs, 43,000 perennials, and 283,000 square feet of sod, the job includes managing the schedule and logistics with the General Contractor and the Soils and Tree Installation Contractor. The park is set to be completed in spring of 2015.




The Green Bean Day School and Nursery cares for children between the ages of 6 weeks to 6 months. Their outdoor play space was lacking in stimulating play options so Juli Ordower Landscape Architecture was brought in to create a more nature-based, organic play environment. Among the new elements incorporated into this small recreational space are a sandbox with granite boulders, mushroom and acorn seats, a custom built tree log planter box with native plants and an outdoor storage shed. 




The playground at Akiba Schechter Jewish Day School in Hyde Park celebrates the concept of nature-inspired play.  The whimsical design incorporates several elements including a treehouse, log tunnel, and mushroom-shaped seats that accentuate the “natural” concept. A silhouette of a tree branch flows through the entire poured in place rubber surface, tying the elements together into a whole.


"Our daughters LOVE the Akiba playground! Our youngest runs to the stone harp every chance she gets, and our oldest talks longingly about the playground even when she hasn't been there for months. Thank you for designing such a creative and child-friendly place." 

-Akiba Schechter parent


Photography by Robert R Gigliotti Photography.

© 2015. Juli Ordower Landscape Architecture LLC | Chicago | 312.399.2355 |  Contact